Sustainable Design Ideas

Today I was chatting with my co-worker Terry Kerr — someone who has deep ties to a very famous institution in these parts, the Frank Llyod Wright established Taliesin School of Architecture — about sustainable theater design. The conversation really got me thinking beyond LEED and more about what the most sustainable theater operation would entail.

Would it be built new from the ground up using green materials, or be a renovated older building? What else would be required to make it both functional and sustainable, aside from energy conservation, sustainable water use, proximity to public transport, and other ideas established through LEED? And what about Scott Walters tribal idea of self-support? How could a “side” business be incorporated into the design — and what about storage and other self-sufficiency issues inherent in a sustainable theater model? Would there need to be special considerations made in the design in order to accommodate unconventional lighting systems — such as LED fixtures that can’t make long throws — and how would the size of the performance space be determined? How could an organization’s entire operation be housed under one roof without creating a monster facility, with a large physical footprint and therefore a large carbon footprint?

These questions have been reeling in my head lately anyway as I contemplate what it would mean to start up a truly sustainable theater here in Madison.

So, let me know what YOU think: what would a sustainable theater be — from the ground up.


4 Responses to “Sustainable Design Ideas”

  1. April 17, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Interested to read your entry today. Our Board/ Staff Green Committee here at Berkeley Repertory Theatre had a very similar conversation yesterday. We are beginning to draw a distinction between three disparate efforts: our physical plant, our producing activities, our audience… all three seem to require different benchmarks, different standards and different behavioral changes.

  2. April 17, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    The center piece of the Theatre Materials conference at the Central School in London is a collaboration with the Bartlett School of architecture, re-imagining the theater as a portable and sustainable thing. It has taken some inspiration from the temporary theater space built in the Industrial Palace in Prague for the next PQ. There will be more tomorrow at a round table with both schools, arcola, london theater trust and more with an attempt to video conference with the Sustainable Class in LA tomorrow. I’ll get you some more information as I can, but do check out:


  3. April 18, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Thanks for the info on this, Ian.

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